The Correct Way to Lace Your Hiking Shoe

The reason why your hiking shoes do not fit is not always the size of the shoes. Sometimes not lacing the shoes properly may cause the misfit. The standard lacing technique might not work well consistently. Therefore, it is important to know the other lacing techniques. Read our article - The Correct Way to Lace Your Hiking Shoe to learn more.

The comfort and flexibility of your hiking shoes depend a lot on the lacing methods too. Needless to say, improper lacing techniques can cause blisters too. 

The perfect lacing would be firm on your feet but not too tight, as if it will stop the circulation. Neither will it be so loose that your feet can swim around the shoes. 

Below we present the correct way to lace your hiking shoe.

Types of Lacing Methods:

1. The Criss-Cross Lacing Method:

This is one of the most common and standard ways of lacing your hiking shoes. Start with making crisscross your shoelaces through the eyelets of the shoes and keep moving up to the boot. Pull the laces firmly. Some hiking footwears have hooks. If your shoes have them, secure your laces through them. 

Now comes the knotting. Start with a regular knot. Afterward, make a loop and feed the other lace into the hole. Tight both the laces firmly, and you are good to go. 

2. The Surgeon's Knot Lacing Method:

Heel slippage is a common problem while hiking. When the heel of your feet rises a little while, rubbing against the back of your boot is called Heel slippage. A surgeon's knot might prevent your feet from heel slippage. Start with one lace and leap over the other one-two times. This method helps to prevent heel blisters. 

3. Double Slip Knot Lacing Method:

The double slip knot is also commonly used by hikers to prevent heel slippage. It is pretty simple to do. Start by making a starting knot. Afterward, make two loops with the shoelaces. Then double the lace over itself.

One will head towards the back, and the other will run towards the front. Feed both the laces in the holes of the loops and pull the laces firmly. If done correctly, the knot will be an asymmetrical knot with a double wrap in the middle.

4. Gap Lacing Technique:

Gap lacing is an excellent lacing method if you want to erase pressure from a certain point of your feet. Basically, this lacing is a version of a crisscross, missing across to form a gap. This lacing technique also yields flexibility and comfort.

Start lacing inside and out from the first eyelet set and crossover the shoelaces. When the shoelaces catch up with the sensitive area, skip the cross over around that area to create a hole with the laces. Start crisscrossing with the laces again until the lacing is done. Tie a knot around firmly, and you are good to go!

5. Heel Locks Lacing Method:

This shoe lacing technique is used to prevent slippage of your feet from your shoes. Lately, this method has been very famous among runners and hikers. It is not much of a job but an excellent way to hold your feet in place.

Start with criss crossing your shoelace until the last eyelet at the bottom of your shoe. Next, bring the left lace under the left eyelet to the inside of your footwear. The essential feature of this technique is to make two loops. The process mentioned above will create on the two loops.

Repeat the process with the right one, and you will be able to create another circle with the remaining lace. One loop will be facing the right side, and the other will be facing the left side.

Afterward, cross the laces and place them into the loop of the other side of the shoe. Pulling the lace to make a firm lock is the nub of the heel lock method.

6. High Instep Lacing Method:

This particular lacing method is ideal for those with voluminous feet. This relieves the tension of the feet by creating a window for the feet to move around. Start with crossing the laces and avoid crossing in the delicate areas of your feet.

You can consider locking the laces before and after. Tie the knot, and you are ready to roll.

7. Over-Under Lacing:

his particular lacing technique is a great choice to add some razzle-dazzle to your personality. Start off with the cross lacing but instead of crawling up to the next pair of eyelets, head under.

Subsequently, head over the tip of the following pair of eyelets and keep repeating the same pattern over and again till you crawl to the top. Make a knot, and the over-under lacing is done.

8. Commando Lacing:

This is a military-inspired lacing technique for people who are craving a little thrill. The method is ideal for tying up your shoelaces swiftly. In this method, one side of the shoelace is fixed at the lower eyelet making a connected “S” pattern at the front of the shoe, and the other lace is used for making a slip-knot at the top. It is one of the the correct way to lace your hiking shoe.

Some lacing tips for hiking:

When you start your hiking trail, the blood circulation of your body increases; consequently, your foot size expands a bit. The footwear also goes through a change because of the warmth created during hiking. The appropriate lacing helps to attain the perfect fit, irrespective of what the situation is.

As the feet tend to expand within the first few minutes, experts suggest that you tie your laces again after 15-20 minutes of your hiking. Before walking downhill, consider tying your shoelaces aiming at your ankle.

This is a tried and tested tip to avoid blisters and bruised toenails. Your feet require flexibility and mobility when you will be walking uphill. This is essential for the front part, but the heel should have a firm fit. Keep the laces moderately loose at the top so that they do not push towards the heel.

The tongue of your hiking shoes should always stay in the middle. It might twist if you are not careful enough. Many hiking shoes are available that have a hook to keep the tongue positioned in the middle.

Picking the right pair of socks for hiking: 

While some might argue that hiking socks are just another scheme to snatch away more from your wallet, we would say that they are as important as choosing the right pair of shoes and lacing them correctly. 

An imperfect hiking sock will ruin the experience of hiking and might cause discomfort, blister, even blood clotting.  

Hiking socks can cushion your feet that will make the journey most comfortable. Besides, it will wick away the moisture of your feet, keep them warm during cold weather, and reduce the risk of causing blisters. Furthermore, the socks also add in improving the fit of your boot. 

Like hiking footwear, a lot of change has happened in the world of hiking socks. Hikers no longer use the old rag wool socks. Manufacturers have introduced different socks made for weather demand.  

When you are looking out for an ideal pair of socks, bear in mind that cotton socks will soak the moisture off your feet. Besides, they will take too long to dry. While buying, turn the socks inside-out and check the density of the pattern of fabric loops. Denser socks are better at absorbing and last long.  

Additionally, the thicker the socks are, the more longevity they have. The thickness of the socks also improves the fit of slightly large shoes.

To get the perfect fit, consider wearing two different pairs of socks in the morning and night. Our feet get swelled up after going through some activity. Therefore, while hiking, switch to thinner socks after lunch.  

Socks with elastic stretch keep up with your feet and do not have an issue with slipping through your legs. 

Since hiking socks are not cheap, you must take good care of them. While washing, remember to wash them inside out to remove every particle, salt, and sweat to wash away.

Commercial dryers to dry socks are forbidden. They cause the material of the hose to shrink and ruin the fabric. Instead, consider using an air dryer. Please do not use them every day; use them only when you are out hiking. 


Truth be told, there is no best lacing technique. It varies from person to person. The method that would suit your needs will depend upon your hiking footwear and the volume of your feet.

Since the shape and volume of the feet differ from person to person, one single lacing technique or method will not work for everyone. Keeping that in mind, we have done enough research on lacing techniques in our article - The Correct Way to Lace Your Hiking Shoe so that you can make that shoe fit a little better and hold your foot in place and start to hit the trails.

You can also read: How to Break in Climbing Shoes

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